Archive for the ‘February 2015’ Category

Teeth, immunity and third-child guilt

In February 2015 on February 11, 2015 at 1:34 pm

brush teeth

Sarah: There’s nothing like a third child to amplify levels of parental guilt and anxiety.

After our first two children being born quite close together, we had a four-year breather and then rolled the dice once more.

The first child had my full attention until he was nearly two. Upon weaning, he enjoyed hand-picked,-slow-steamed-mashed-with-stainless-steel-organic-local-fruit-and-vegetables. I brushed his teeth with care and dedication, he enjoyed kinder-gym and swimming lessons from a young age, we built train tracks together and we went to the park regularly.

That child — now aged 11 — does not have a single problem with his teeth.

Child number three — who has enjoyed a busy, crazy, rushed existence since his arrival 5 years ago — went for his second routine dental checkup recently. A cavity was discovered.

Immediate feelings, so many feelings. I didn’t teach him to brush properly! I should have done more brushing myself! His diet is terrible! He is a poor neglected kid! I am a failure!

We arranged to see a specialist for the repair. As I weakly offered various mea culpa statements at our first appointment, she was pretty-much unmoved, saying offhand,

“Oh children with asthma are much more likely to have cavities.”

WHAT! Yes, he does suffer from asthma, and I know a lot about the condition; this association I was not aware of. With further questioning she explained it was probably a result of the drying effect of oral preventer ‘puffer’ medication on saliva (which is protective of teeth), an underlying difference in immunity associated with asthma and induced changes in immunity due to use of anti-inflammatory steroid puffers.

Not content with one point of view, I also looked it up. Yes, I found support in a comprehensive 2011 paper that reviewed the evidence from many other publications:

“Evidence from this analysis suggests that asthma doubles the risk of caries in both primary and permanent dentition.”

“Physicians and dentists should recommend preventive measures against caries for persons with asthma.”

Well that would have been nice to know earlier. But at least I’m not beating myself up quite so much now.

[image thanks to makelessnoise on flickr]


Not so happy feet

In February 2015 on February 9, 2015 at 2:21 pm


Sarah: A recent birthday notwithstanding, I officially know I’m getting old: my feet are giving me merry hell.

Around the start of December, a stabbing pain showed up in my right heel. Not all the time, mind. First thing in the morning, after a stint sitting on the couch, other times here and there. Walking barefoot…..agony.

After a good 6 months of managing a running injury last year, I was a little scared. Did I need to stop? Strangely enough though, it never hurt me when exercising.

Attending a follow-up appointment at my podiatrist, I mentioned it to her. She asked what had changed in December – different exercise? New injury? No, and no, I answered, feeling confused.

She smiled knowingly, and explained the likely cause. Plantar fasciitis. Why? Tight calf muscles — not enough stretching after exercise, resulting in upward pulling and inflammation of the foot structures via my achilles tendon — and too much wearing of flippy floppy flat summer shoes.

So if you see me in a pair of those nice supportive wide and slightly elevated granny shoes, and pushing up against a wall with my right leg extended behind me, you’ll know why. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

[photo thanks to Janis Petranis on flickr]